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Meeting spend is too often 'underestimated'

Carlson Wagonlit Travel finds most companies don't have strategic meetings management plans

Pictured: Ian Cummings, vice president CWT M&E EMEA

Researchers behind the latest study of strategic meetings management (SMM) say not enough is being done to monitor meetings spend, with some companies even clueless about the total costings.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which commissioned a study into SMM in partnership with The BTN Group, says it is surprising how few companies have a clear idea on the total cost of all meetings, with many underestimating their meetings budget.

The study, Driving Success in Strategic Meetings Management, looked into the prevalence of SMMs and found that more than half of the companies surveyed hadn't launched one. Of those that had, 96 per cent ranked them 'successful', while more than two-thirds plan to expand theirs.

The study also found cost transparency and cost reduction were rated the most important success metric, followed by attendee and sponsor satisfaction and regulatory compliance.

CWT's Chris Goundrill, head of account management, said: "It surprises me how little companies look at it (SMM) because it takes up large amounts of spend and causes bookers large amounts of stress. It does always amaze me that more companies haven't looked at it already.

"We help calculate what client meeting spend is and when we do their jaws drop when they find out what meeting spend is. They just don't realise it's going to be to that level."

Liz Quinton, regional director, operations - UK, IE & Northern Europe, added: "Many companies underestimate their budget for meetings. A high percentage haven't got a clue.

"A lot of (data entries relating to meetings) can be hidden. If you've got 500 people booking meetings, using different agencies and different marketing codes … it will slip under the radar."

The CWT senior staff recommended companies introduce a policy so all meeting bookings go through one channel.

Ian Cummings, vice president CWT Meetings & Events EMEA, said of the report: "I think the timing of this study was good; being able to demystify SMM and simplify it. It almost takes away the mystery of what is an SMM. It's a good guide point for a lot of business customers and a lot of our customers."

Download the full report here.

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